The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 177

TO ACCESS EXCLUSIVE CONTENT AND SUPPORT THIS NOVEL, CLICK HERE !

The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide

Elte Trading Company Reclamation (6)

To capture Sung Chang-ryong Bellbrook, Taely McLore’s Sword Saint Ceremony is necessary.

This has been a chronic source of concern for me. The most fundamental solution is for Taely McLore to become strong enough to finish Bellbrook himself.

However, the “Sylvania Failed Sword Saint” has become hopelessly entangled, and it is impossible to go back to how things were.

Taely’s growth is also certain to be much slower than I had expected.

The subjugation of Sung Chang-ryong Bellbrook is, in fact, the culmination of all the tribulations I must face in this world since my arrival.

If Taely cannot handle Bellbrook, the responsibility falls entirely on me from then on. The catastrophe that will occur if Bellbrook is not dealt with in time is not just someone else’s problem, considering my position.

The moment Bellbrook’s revival is not properly concluded in Acken Island and starts to affect the mainland… The damage to this empire and the continent is beyond my comprehension. Naturally, it will also have a significant impact on my future.

Although my plan to leave everything to Taely and quietly earn my graduation certificate has long since fallen apart… Bellbrook is an enemy that cannot be faced alone, no matter what.

Therefore, I can only pray.

I hope that Taely McLore’s specs are in even a slightly better condition.

* * *

The backyard of the branch, surrounded by large iron fences, was shrouded in the darkness of the night, out of sight of everyone.

After knocking on the back door of Elte Trading Company’s Sylvania branch a couple of times, a worker from inside opened it.

Beyond the quietly opened door, I saw Dun Grecks, who now completely controlled the Sylvania branch of the Elte Trading Company, from the background.

Behind him were his secretary Lien and the company employees attached to Dun’s side.

Among them were employees who had pledged allegiance to Lortelle, presenting a rather peculiar scene.

“You are more brash than I thought, Mr. Ed.”

It must have been hard for Dun to come to terms with the sight he witnessed.

Me, dragging the tightly bound Aila, and Yenika standing meekly behind us.

Given Dun’s resources in gathering intelligence, he wouldn’t question why Yenika was with me.

Yenika normally gets involved in anything common, but Dun may not have imagined she would be part in such an overt kidnapping… He masked his flustered expression with a barely noticeable smile.

“Mmph! Mmph!”

Aila, who had her mouth gagged with cloth, tried to cry out, but her muffled sounds did not convey any words.

“Bind her.”

The company employees behind Dun grabbed Aila’s arms. Aila, having lost all will to resist, was dragged deep inside by the employees.

“Did not expect you to extend your hand in such matters. Is there something special about that girl?”

“She has an innate sensitivity to several high-level magical powers… Especially to saintly powers.”

“Saintly powers, you say?”

We continued our conversation as we walked along the corridor.

Yenika, the company workers, and secretary Lien followed behind us along the corridor.

I raised my hand slightly and drew upon a bit of power.

The recoil from the Phoenix Ring was somewhat mitigated by a long rest, but the residue still made it difficult to harness my magic.

However, with focused concentration, I could manage to show a hint of magical presence.

―Swoosh.

Dun’s eyes narrowed at the barely apparent surge of crimson magical energy.

The company employees following him also swallowed dryly. Even those unfamiliar with magic could tell at a glance that it was revealing saintly power.

“Do you use saintly magic?”

“Yeah. However, I can’t study advanced saintly magic alone. It may be… unethical, but I need a willing victim with good sensitivity.”

In truth, the reason for Aila’s abduction was not that. It was simply to stir Taely McLore, seeking to gauge the extent of his potential.

However, since I can’t openly admit that, the pretext I provided was this. Just as Professor Glast suggested, Aila’s sensitivity to saintly power provides good justification.

“I’m not in good enough physical condition to conduct proper research now… But I must secure Aila before the holiday ends. Once the new semester begins and she starts participating in academic events, her absence will be more noticeable.”

While saying this, I glanced stealthily at Dun.

“It goes without saying, but it’s not something you can boast about anywhere. Using someone as a research subject… There will definitely be a backlash if it’s made public.”

“The academy won’t sit still either. They won’t take lightly to a student who was living a normal academic life being kidnapped.”

“That’s why I’d be grateful if this news doesn’t spread outside. Aila simply disappeared from her room, suddenly. Whether she ran away or whatever it became.”

The reason I speak of this is simple.

It’s to convey the message, ‘I’ve exposed my weakness to you.’

It’s not actually a weakness. After all, even Aila, the abducted, is in on the plot.

True trust is formed when both parties hold each other’s weaknesses.

The assurance that my plans will be ruined if the other party has harmful intentions is when real trust is born, and I can leave everything in their hands.

“If Elte Trading Company could skillfully hide one girl, that wouldn’t be a problem, right?”

When I asked that, Dun smiled discreetly.

“There are more than twenty empty rooms in the company’s basement. Most are used as rest areas for workers or storage for goods, but once the door is locked… It becomes as good as a prison.”

“I need to check this with my own eyes.”

“Of course.”

Descending with Dun towards the basement, we made our way down.

The Sylvania branch of the Elte Trading Company, a four-story building on a prime piece of land directly adjacent to the Mekses Bridge.

With such a broad property and a sizable building… It would not be easy to scour the entire building and find Aila.

As we descended the staircase leading underground, the subterranean space was fully revealed. Multiple storerooms cram-packed with inventory stretched along the basement.

We opened a deep door about halfway and the workers pushed Aila through.

“Mmph!”

Aila, who grumbled as she rolled on the floor, looked up at the workers. Surrounded by several burly-looking men, she was visibly trembling in fear.

“The room seems quite suitable.”

“There’s no better place for accommodating one person. No sound leaks out, so it’s difficult for outsiders to know what’s happening.”

I crouched down next to Aila, who was rolling on the floor, to check on her.

As I nodded subtly to avoid being seen by the workers, Aila nodded back almost imperceptibly.

She might have been taken aback by the unexpectedly rough and sinister atmosphere, despite being pre-informed of the situation.

I wanted to make sure she was alright… Surprisingly, she seemed fine.

If there’s such a thing as craftsmanship in being kidnapped… Perhaps Aila is quite skillful at it, I thought.

At that moment, I thought, ‘I must repay her somehow for the trouble I’ve caused her…’

“So, how do you plan to capture Lortelle?”

“We’ll have to utilize a classical approach. In this business, there’s a set way to pull someone down. It’s to frame them with a crime.”

Much like when Lortelle pulled down Elte.

However, while Elte had their part to play then, Lortelle is entirely innocent this time.

“Our side is proceeding with plans smoothly. When the next semester at Sylvania starts, the control of Elte Trading Company will already be in our hands.”

Dun never reveals his full plans. Even if I pretended to casually inquire while signaling my apparent vulnerability, he would only discuss the overall picture and never divulge his methodology.

“That’s so… You have your own thoughts on it, I guess.”

I closed my eyes and spoke. Digging further would only arouse undue suspicion.

“Then, I need to see Lortelle.”

* * *

Inside the magnificent royal carriage, silence prevailed.

Lucy and Princess Phoenia were not particularly close. Although both were from the same grade, what were the chances of the Princess, who was always escorted, meeting Lucy, who preferred napping in high or secluded spots?

The uncomfortable silence was punctured only by the sound of the carriage wheels.

Lucy Mayrill was snoring lightly, as Princess Phoenia looked out the window, somewhat ill at ease.

The movements of the escort soldiers were unusual.

Phoenia, having been protected by soldiers since childhood, had sharp instincts about such matters.

It was not just the soldiers who usually guarded Phoenia but also those from other divisions attached to the escort party.

It seemed like guarding Princess Phoenia wasn’t their only objective.

‘Who could possibly manipulate the Princess’ escort like this?’

Not just anyone uses the Princess’ escort. Most of them were familiar faces.

There were plenty of veteran soldiers of substantial rank. About half of them Phoenia recognized. The other half, however, were not so easily identifiable by the Princess.

Even so, since they belong to the royal household, it’s unlikely they would have any nefarious intentions towards Princess Phoenia.

Nonetheless, the question remains: why were they inserted among Phoenia’s escort?

“They claim to be part of the convoy.”

Suddenly, Lucy, whom I thought was asleep, spoke with her head on the table.

Princess Phoenia, taken aback by the sudden message, looked towards Lucy, but Lucy continued without showing much significance.

“They’ve come along with a convoy, saying there’s a criminal on Acken Island to be apprehended.”

“What?”

Lucy has excellent hearing.

Her ability isn’t just about having a keen sense of hearing but also being able to spread her magical awareness while asleep, surpassing human limitations.

Of course, if it’s someone she fully trusts or someone who poses no threat, Lucy wouldn’t react, even if they got close.

However, having had to stay among hostile crowds in the last few days, Lucy’s senses were on edge.

She might seem sloppy and drowsy, but Lucy is always precise in grasping her surroundings.

Phoenia swallowed dryly at Lucy’s heightened alertness. She could not have noticed just from the atmosphere.

For now, Phoenia is an ally. She remembers this.

With formidable force, sharp senses, extensive knowledge, and clear situational judgment, Lucy would feel like a thousand soldiers when on your side. But as an enemy, she is an opponent one cannot fathom defeating.

She is a person not to be turned against.

“A convoy? A criminal…?”

“A criminal on Acken Island?”

“Could it be…?”

Ed Rothtaylor?

Murmuring to herself, Lucy slowly raised her head up.

Her eyes, which seemed to be intoxicated with sleep, were quite clear.

“……”

“Don’t jump to conclusions, Lucy Mayrill.”

Lucy Mayrill quietly sat up straight.

It felt as if a bomb capable of a massive explosion, whimsically lit its own fuse.

Princess Phoenia, sensing an ominous feeling, decided to calm the impending disaster.

“The decision to transport Ed Rothtaylor isn’t easy even in the central royal council because it’s such a sensitive issue. It’s impossible that someone among the imperial powerhouses would carelessly secure Ed Rothtaylor’s custody.”

Because to do so would be politically shooting oneself in the foot.

Stepping on it is an action of taking a risk. No one can be blamed if one falls. Lucy Mayrill seemed to know this as well, quietly listening to Pheonia’s words.

“Besides, everyone knows you will accompany them… I’m sure they weren’t foolish enough to send someone capable of subduing Ed Rothtaylor to the escort troops.”

“Then who else could the criminal be?”

“Well… that… we need to watch a little longer. For now, I’ll act as though I know nothing and mingle with the escort soldiers.”

There weren’t many influential figures who could embed their own forces into Princess Pheonia’s guard. Either someone with the authority to assign personnel, or someone with an equivalent level of influence.

A knight’s commander, a high-ranking minister, or one of the three close confidants of Emperor Clorel. Or… one of the three candidates for the throne.

One of them… Pheonia’s suspicions were already somewhat solidified.

“Sister Persica.”

The commander of the royal knights who held the authority of personnel assignment was affiliated with Persica’s forces.

If influence had been exerted, then it was highly likely to be Princess Persica.

When Pheonia mentioned Persica’s name, Lucy Mayrill’s gaze sharpened.

Princess Persica was an ambiguous figure, neither openly hostile nor friendly towards Ed Rothtaylor.

Unlike the openly hostile Princess Sella or the openly friendly Princess Pheonia, it was tough to make a judgment.

For Lucy, it was a vague feeling too, but if they planned to use the escort troop to capture Ed Rothtaylor, her opinion would entirely differ.

However, it was still too early to make a hasty judgment.

Inside a carriage on the move.

While they crossed the territory of the peaceful empire, there was a beautiful natural spectacle outside the window… yet neither of them could afford to enjoy the scenery.

In the carriage, with the sound of wheels rolling, they maintained a sharp tension.

It felt like something unexpected might happen upon arriving at Acken Island.

Princess Pheonia did not want to provoke Lucy in any way. To do so, she must not provoke Ed Rothtaylor either.

Keeping that in mind, she maintained the tension.

The carriage had already passed the boundary of the Jahl region. Once they crossed this domain and reached the southwest coast, the great Mekses Bridge that leads to Acken Island would come into view.

Their arrival at Acken Island was not far off.

The chilly air of dawn had dissipated, and the morning vitality started to slowly seep in.

* * *

―Thunk!

Inside the acting master Lord Lortelle Keheln’s office.

When the door opened, Lortelle was utterly bowed down.

Completely covered by the brown robe and hat, with hands tied behind, he sat motionless in the chair.

On the office desk was a simple meal set out. Dishes like bread or dried fish were served, which could be eaten even with hands bound.

However, Lortelle hadn’t touched a single bite… The room was silent.

“……”

A scene where even venomous intent seemed to rise.

The closest associate of Lortelle, who had led me up to the office, remained infinitely tense.

It would be awkward to confront the leader he had struck from behind, especially since the leader, after being bound, hadn’t spoken a word and emanated a cool chill.

Perhaps the sensation of revenge’s blade ready to pierce one’s throat with just a blink was felt.

No matter how much one has experienced battles and schemes, Lortelle’s cold figure instilled a chill down even the spine of veteran guild members.

Rather, perhaps the fear felt was magnified due to the gap created by Lortelle’s usual demeanor.

Just breathing in the same space felt like thick mud flowing down the throat.

The feeling of walking on the edge of a blade.

If they didn’t fully suppress Lortelle this time, he would not leave them at peace—that sharp sensation.

“Shall you leave?”

“Sh-should I?”

Though it was an awkward kind of consideration, the guild worker hastily accepted my proposition as I suggested it.

“I will be standing by outside the door. Come out when your business concludes.”

Saying so, the guild member quickly left the office.

With a loud thud, the office door closed, and in front of me was Lortelle Keheln, bound behind the desk.

Nothing like his usual high and mighty appearance commanding the guild with leisure, his fully bound figure was akin to a queen on the eve of confinement.

I stepped monotonously inside and sat down across from the office desk.

Lortelle did not lift his head.

“You haven’t touched your food at all.”

I casually tossed the comment, but still, Lortelle made no movement.

One might have thought he was unconscious, but occasional signs of life indicated he was alert.

“Why did you come?”

Eventually breaking the long silence, a clear voice from Lortelle rose.

“To mock?”

There was an edge in his voice as if someone facing an enemy was filled with spite.

Suppressed speech laden with numerous emotions, and since he couldn’t cry out or roar… he spoke with a lowered voice, quietly.

“I was sitting alone, mulling over things. No matter how much I think about it, there’s no benefit for Senior Ed in taking my side.”

So Lortelle Keheln sat here, contemplating that thought.

Could there be any benefit if Ed Rothtaylor were to side with Lortelle Keheln?

If there was something to gain by not siding with Durin but with Lortelle… then Ed Rothtaylor might support his cause.

However, being wise, Lortelle would have soon realized.

Looking from the perspective of practicality, there was absolutely no advantage for Ed Rothtaylor in siding with Lortelle Keheln.

“Congratulations. It was a good call to be friendly with me.”

Even for the bone-deep merchant, it’s still human nature.

Especially Lortelle Keheln, someone who never gave her heart to anyone before.

Lone since birth, without family, friends, or trustworthy companions… a girl who longed for such connections.

Perhaps for the first time, she would have felt the pain borne of loss.

The betrayal must have been as uncontrollable as it was, despite knowing my choice was rational.

Lortelle Keheln must have come to understand the fear and pain of losing relationships.

For a girl who had always lived within calculated relationships, it was a pain she experienced for the first time.

A peculiar sense of guilt came over me, but my current options were severely limited.

Therefore, all I could do was…

“What are you right now?”

Therefore, I blurted out something seemingly nonsensical.

Lortelle, still hidden beneath the shadow of the robe’s hood, did not react.

“Are you the deputy head of the Elte Guild? The vice-chair of the magic department at the Sylvania Academy?”

Despite the incomprehensible questions, no answer returned.

Yet, I did not stop.

“Or are you a self-made merchant who rose to success at a young age? My partner who supplies me with magical tools?”

“…….”

“Right now, at this moment, you are… nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

She could probably affirm one thing.

“You are Lortelle Keheln.”

Sitting crookedly in a wooden chair, I spoke of something simple and yet profoundly significant.

“Regrettably, present circumstances leave me with only one reason.”

“What reason?”

“I have to save you.”

I drew a dagger from my waist.

Before Lortelle could react, I cut through the ropes binding her wrists.

The sharp blade effortlessly severed the rope.

Lortelle’s hands were completely freed. Just as I thought to cut the ropes binding her feet―Lortelle suddenly lifted her head.

With her head raised―Lortelle was beaming triumphantly.

“Oh, my.”

“You…”

“How satisfying.”

From the start, Lortelle was neither heartbroken nor plagued by doubt…

She was merely sitting still, waiting for my arrival.

True to her cunning nature, as if she’d devoured thousands of snakes… she had feigned despair, lowering her head, waiting for my words.

“Because I suspected you, maybe?”

There was no other reason. I saved you simply because you are Lortelle.

Was that the statement she wanted to hear?

Grinning slyly like a fox, Lortelle slowly lifted her hat with her freed arms.

Her contentedly upturned lips indicated her elated mood.

“I was nearly dying waiting.”

“…….”

“My legs are painfully tight too. Hurry up and untie me.”

I leaned forward with the dagger raised, carefully approaching the rope around Lortelle’s ankles to avoid injuring her.

“From the moment you came in, I roughly knew. After reading the contract agreement, it became clear. If Senior Ed really intended to side with Durin, you wouldn’t need to show your face to me at all.”

“Disappointing. I thought you’d be consumed with despair.”

“Aha, senior. You can be quite somber too. Imagining yourself bringing hope to a girl depressed by betrayal, saying, ‘Don’t worry, you haven’t been betrayed’?”

With a swift exhale, Lortelle laughed easily.

“Unfortunately, that’s not the case. From the moment I first saw your face, I realized ‘Ah, there’s an ulterior motive,’ and that was that.”

“Enough already. What can I say? Let’s first free your feet, then think about an escape route. Taely will be storming in soon.”

“You’ve been scheming again. Fine, let’s calmly organize our thoughts first.”

Saying so, I slowly cut away the rope binding Lortelle’s ankles.

Well, such is life. What dramatic event could occur?

As always in the world of merchants, as overwhelming as the trial might seem, there is always a way out.

Lortelle was aware of this… hence her unwavering composure.

Indeed, she is the incarnation of composure and intellect, the Lortelle I knew.

No need to delve into feelings unnecessarily. Firstly, briefing the next move would be the correct action.

I’ve saved quite a bit of time.

―Tap.

―Clang!

Just as I thought so, the attack occurred.

My body was shoved backward, hitting the back of my head on the floor. A mild pain surged, but more startling was Lortelle, who had plunged into my arms.

The moment she gained freedom, Lortelle drove her face into my chest and embraced me tightly.

As a result, we tumbled over the wooden floor, and regaining my senses, Lortelle nestled in my arms was rubbing her face against me.

“……”

“……”

I gently brushed the back of my head, feeling the cold of the wooden floor on my back.

“You said you had it all figured out.”

“Just because I knew and took a hit, doesn’t mean the strike doesn’t hurt.”

I didn’t press to understand what that meant.

The image of betraying Lortelle Keheln. Siding with Durin, selling her out, reaping my gains, and completely abandoning her…

If imagined, it wasn’t an entirely impossible future.

Perhaps that fact gnawed away even more, chilling Lortelle’s spine.

“The one thing that’s certain…”

The Lortelle immersed in my arms showcased a side I’d never seen before.

The usually cold her looked so fragile… a sight probably difficult to witness again in the future.

“It wasn’t exactly a pleasant experience.”

Without saying more, I quietly stroked the back of Lortelle’s head.

“… Sorry it turned out this way.”

I had my reasons too. But I didn’t delve into a lengthy explanation.

For a while, we had to lie like that… on the office floor.

―Boom! Bang!

―Rumble! Roar!

The sound of a massive explosion coming from the guild’s main gate followed.

The vibration that shook the ground could be felt even on the office floor.

TO ACCESS EXCLUSIVE CONTENT AND SUPPORT THIS NOVEL, CLICK HERE !



Want to keep in touch ? Join our Discord : https://discord.gg/wMvrbbTzrG

One response to “The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 177”

  1. Lortelle: *having her precious moments with Ed*
    Taely: *coming in hot with the steel chair*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *